While most moles are harmless and don’t require treatment, in some cases, a mole will need to be removed if it poses a risk for cancer or if it bothers a patient, for aesthetic reasons or otherwise. Once your dermatologist or doctor has identified a dangerous mole or you have identified a mole you’d like to remove, there are a few options for treatment.
Mole removal is typically done on an outpatient basis and is relatively painless. Moles can be removed by:
Cutting / Excision
With this method, moles are treated with a local anesthetic and the mole is cut out along with a small area of the surrounding skin with a scalpel or surgical scissors. Some moles may have cells that have grown underneath the top layer of skin. Cutting these out may require a few stitches to close the skin, which can leave a small scar that will fade over time.
Some skin moles can be shaved down with a scalpel. The area will be numbed with a local anesthetic beforehand and usually only a small pink mark will be left.
Moles that are non-cancerous and haven’t grown to the deeper layers of skin can be frozen off using liquid nitrogen. This may leave a small blister on the skin but is a relatively simple outpatient procedure.
Smaller, non-cancerous moles that don’t protrude above the surface of the skin may also be removed with a laser treatment. This treatment uses intense bursts of light radiation to break down the mole cells in the skin. This method usually takes two or three treatments to remove the mole completely. While excision and cutting are the more common and recommended methods of removing moles, laser removal can be useful for harder to reach areas, such as on the face or ears, and can be helpful for removing multiple moles at the same time.